Registrations are now open for migrants ready to jump into the Migrant Learn to Swim and Beach Safe program run by Sunshine Coast Council and Royal Life Saving Society Queensland.
The popular classes are designed specifically for migrant men and women and will be held at Goodlife Community Centre, Buderim (women only), Nambour and Caloundra Aquatic Centres, plus Bulcock Beach, Caloundra, for seven weeks from 20 March.
Indian migrant Monika Manot lives with her family on the Sunshine Coast and participated in the program last year.
“I always had a fear of water and I didn’t know how to swim when I first came to Australia,” Monika said.
“The lovely instructors gave us lessons on how to be comfortable in the water, what to do and what not to do when you panic. I enjoyed the lessons, they gave an opportunity to meet other migrants as well.
“If you’re thinking about learning to swim or coming down to the beach make sure you give the program a go.”
Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said people living healthy and active lifestyles was a key goal of council’s Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041.
“This is a great opportunity for migrants to build their confidence in the water and at the beach and make new connections with others,” Cr Law said.
“The program is aligned with the Swim and Survive program, which is Australia’s only swimming program aligned to the National Swimming and Water Safety Framework, and also the only program endorsed by Education Queensland.”
Royal Surf Life Saving Society Queensland Executive Director Paul Barry said for people born overseas, the beach was the second most common place to drown.
“Beach safety is paramount and the program can accept people who may have very little swimming skills,” Mr Barry said.
“The program is not just swimming lessons, but also includes water safety and survival components.
“This includes things such as floating, wearing lifejackets, survival techniques and aquatic fitness. During the beach components, participants will learn about the ocean including things such as rips, currents, lifeguards, and safe and unsafe swimming locations.
“This is also about encouraging people to become active and enjoy the water in a safe manner. Research has shown that a fit and healthy lifestyle helps reduce social isolation and for those who may be new to Australia, social inclusion into the Australian lifestyle and culture becomes a way of life.”
Registrations close soon. A welcome day will be held on Saturday 13 March and sessions run from 20 March until 8 May (excluding Easter Sunday).
People can register here.
This program is also supported by the Federal Government.
Image: Participant Monika Manot.